I often joke that my toddlers are my boss, but really it’s very true, and, sometimes, I have to use workplace tricks to get anything done at all. Common phrases in my house include, “I’ll do that right now,” and “Yes, yes, right now, yes, in a minute, yes, of course.” I’m pretty sure I used those daily in the workplace, and I’m pretty sure they meant the same thing they do now – “No, I’ll get to it later,” and “I forgot, but I’m babbling at you while I get my stuff together so it looks like I was on top of it all along.”
One of the key transferable skills is making the boss think it was their idea. Whatever it is, it was their idea. At work, if I came up with a new scheme to intermingle web promotion with video, the only way I could pass it through the big guy was to hint around it during a meeting, wait until he said it, and congratulate him on his wonderful cutting-edge idea. Dirty trick? Maybe. But you do what you have to do.
Last week, I needed to go to the Walgreens. We don’t have a car during the day and a trip to the Walgreens requires a mile-long hike with a double stroller. It is impossible to accomplish with two screaming writhing children such as I had at the time. They were tantruming, of course, because by now they’ve figured out that a mile walk while strapped into a stroller is much more boring than a freedom jaunt outside in the back where they can run and play.
I tried force first because they do usually like going on walks, and I thought maybe once they were in their stroller seats they’d calm down and get the idea. Nothing doing. Then I tried giving them hats. That usually works, but by this point, they were too wound up to care about even their most favorite accessory. Somehow I was able to convince them to get into their seat, but they both had their loveys with them, and loveys do not leave the house in this family. Just as I solved one problem, another problem emerged. They would not let me take their loveys. I waited. And waited. And waited. Alas, they were perfectly content to wait me out, sitting smugly in their stroller, hugging their beloved blankie and bear. I went out of sight. It didn’t fool them. I went outside in front of them and shut the door. All that did was make them cry and cling to their loveys even harder. I was at a complete loss and running out of pre-naptime minutes.
Suddenly an idea.
“Boy, I know you two really want to go on this walk, and I’m so sorry I can’t take you with the blankie and bear. What can we do about this?”
“It was such a good idea you had to go on this walk. Mommy is so excited to take you. But bear and blankie are so tired. So very very tired.”
A pause. Then a question. “Nigh nigh?”
“Oh, that’s a great idea! Would you like me to unstrap you so you can put blankie and bear down for nigh nigh?”
And I unstrapped them and off they went into the bedroom, proudly placing their loveys in bed and giving them kisses. I didn’t have to worry about getting them back in the stroller because now that the walk was their idea, it had turned into a goal, and now that they had taken steps to accomplish that goal, they were willing to go the rest of the way.
Dirty trick? Maybe. But you do what you have to do.